While only 50 kilometers from St. Anton and an hour away from Innsbruck, most people have never heard of the small Tyrolean village of Serfaus unless they are skiers living in Europe. Surrounded by the Ötztal Alps with peaks over 9200 feet high, it is absolutely beautiful.
Located just north of the joint Austrian, Swiss and Italian border, Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis (three historical villages) is one of the biggest ski resort areas in Austria. The towns specialize in holidays for families with children. They come to ski in winter and then return again in the summer to hike and bike on the trails of the high plateau. This area is sometimes referred to as Austria’s “sun terrace” as it is said that the sun shines more often and more intense than anywhere else in the country.
My husband and I aren’t skiers, hikers or cyclists so you might wonder what has brought us back for a second visit to Serfaus. One reason…the Wellness Residenz Schalber. Rated 19 out of 20 points and awarded the top rating of 4 lilies by the Relax Guide of Austria, Schalber is one of the top spa hotels in Austria.
A serpentine road, that made me wince a few times, takes you up to the village. As you enter Serfaus, the road ends at a parking garage where you leave your car if you are a day visitor then take the free Dorfbahn, considered to be one of the world’s smallest and highest subways, into the village. If staying in a hotel, you can bypass the subway and drive up to where you are staying.
Schalber is at the beginning of this little village of chalets and is easily recognized by its striking entrance and beautiful fountain. After a warm and friendly welcome, a valet delivers you to the front desk, takes the luggage to your room then parks your car in the hotel’s underground garage while you are given a tour around the hotel and a welcome glass of Champagne. Gault Millau once wrote about the hotel…”from the reception to the service, all employees deserve the title extraordinary,” and I would certainly agree. From the gracious owners to the very courteous staff, everyone wants to make sure that you have an unforgettable experience at their hotel.
We had a junior suite decorated in the tradition alpine style of light colored woods. The room had a nice seating area and a balcony that looked out at the magnificent view of the surrounding mountains.
The price of the room includes full board which offers you culinary treats throughout the day. There is a large breakfast buffet, a lunch buffet, afternoon beverages served with pastries and then a five course gourmet dinner, including a salad bar. The courses feature Austrian and international cuisine with many of the ingredients coming from the hotel own’s organic farm and hunting grounds.
The beautiful spa truly feels like an oasis of relaxation with many different types of saunas and steam baths, a separate ladies spa, a large panorama sauna with wonderful views of the mountains, an outdoor pool, seawater pool and a relaxation area with lounge chairs and waterbeds and a fitness room.
Life in Serfaus is geared towards outdoor adventures for all ages but we enjoyed just walking through the narrow lanes winding through the village, stopping into the beautiful church on a lovely sunny afternoon.
The Tyrolean village of Serfaus is picture perfect. The first time we visited Schalber was during the Christmas holiday season a few years ago and it looked like something out of a postcard.
Unfortunately, my husband was very ill and never got to leave our room for the three days we were there. We knew that we had to return someday and on this visit, we made up for everything we missed out on and thoroughly enjoyed the hotel and all of its wonderful facilities.